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if their system be an improvement, or in blame of their presumption, if it be no such thing, and that they may have all the credit in either case. It will be no small honour to them if they can succeed in changing the system of the University. We have declared our own opinion, and we see with pleasure that in an original and excellent work, on the elements of electricity, &c. from Caius College, published since the début of the new system, it is not adopted. But we again call upon those who have influence, to use all fair means either to check or to promote the alteration. To have no community of system -to have the moderators of one college using one, and those of another using another, each forcing his own upon the whole University during his year of office, -to oblige the same student to read books of different notation, because each happens to be the best of its kind—10 keep him in suspense as to what notation he will be examined in, till the beginning of his fourth year, when he ought long before that time to be thoroughly well grounded in one or other—will be no advantage to the cause of science in Cambridge.
PUBLIC INSTRUCTION IN PRUSSIA. Report on the State of Public Instruction in Prussia. By
Victor Cousin, addressed to the Count de Montalivet. Translated by Sarah Austin. Small 8vo., pp. xxxviii and 333,
with plans of School-houses. E. Wilson, London, 1834. Mrs. Austin has here given us an English translation of that part of M. Cousin's report which refers to primary instruction in Prussia, divided into its various branches, namely, primary country schools, primary town schools, bürger, or middle schools, which constitute the highest class of elementary instruction, and lastly, the seminaries for training primary schoolmasters, which have been also styled by foreigners, though we think not very correctly, normal schools. The other part of Cousin's report which relates to learned and scientific instruction as afforded by the secondary schools or gymnasia, and lastly by the universities, the translator has omitted, and we think wisely, as primary education is of itself of sufficient importance to form the subject of a separate work, and to claim our undivided attention.
The Prussian system of education, examined in its principles, and in its working, will form a subject for future consideration : we shall, therefore, limit ourselves for the present to the examination of some particular points of Cousin's report, and his reflections thereupon, which have struck us as
most deserving of notice. We shall place the author's statements and views before our readers with little or no comment of our own.
M. Cousin gives the regulations for primary instruction in Prussia, as established by the general law of 1819: this law was prepared by Baron von Altenstein, and being approved of by the King was promulgated as the law of the kingdom. It was not, however, entirely a new creation ; most of its provisions already existed in a great number of partial and detached ordinances, and in the manners and customs of the country. Some of these ordinances belong to the years 1728 and 1736, and they are quoted in a paper on the history of primary instruction, which has been inserted in the First Number of the Second Volume of the Journal of Primary Instruction (Handbuch des Preussischen Volksschulwesens), published at Berlin, by Councillor von Beckendorf. The obligation of parents to send their children to school is, in principle at least, of considerable antiquity, not only in Prussia, but in other parts of Germany. J. K. F. Schlegel, in his work • Ueber Schulpflichtigkeit und Schulzwang,' 1824, which particularly refers to the Hanoverian dominions, states that this obligation is at least as old as 1681 in the Principality of Calemberg : as 1663 in the Principality of Hildesheim ; 1689 in that of Celle ; 1742 in the Duchy of Bremen and Vorden. It is as old as 1643 in Saxe Gotha. In Austria it dates from the reign of Maria Theresa, who in 1774 and 1778 divided the schools into three classes; common schools for villages and small towns, upper schools for large towns, and a normal school for each province. Joseph II. revised the regulations of the elementary and normal schools, and added many excellent provisions. In Prussia, Frederic the Great, by a circular dated January, 1769, first established the obligation of parents to send their children to school, unless they can prove that they are giving them a competent education at home. The Allgemeine Landrecht, or general law of Prussia, promulgated in 1794, fixed the age of five years as that at which children should be sent to school. The law of 1819 makes it imperative on parents, as well as masters or manufacturers who have children as servants or as apprentices, to send them to school from their seventh year to their fourteenth inclusively*. This law, however, was not enforced at once with uniform rigour all over the kingdom; in the Rhenish provinces in particular, it was introduced gradually, and the result has been, that now many parents actually anticipate the period at which the legal constraint begins, and the number of children attending the public schools in 1831, actually exceeded the whole number of children between the ages of seven and fourteen, deducting all those who are educated at home, or at private schools, the sick, &c.
* See the first Article in this Journal.
It would be too much to assert that popular education is entirely the offspring of the Reformation, yet that event undoubtedly gave a great impulse to it, by making the Protestant clergy take it under their active superintendence. It is evident,' observes M. Cousin, “that the authors of a revolution effected in the name of liberty of conscience, must necessarily labour at the emancipation of the popular mind and the diffusion of knowledge, as the only secure means of defending their cause and rooting it in the minds of the people.'—p. 107. But it is not so evident that popular education is now in Germany carried to a much higher pitch in the Protestant than in the Catholic states. Mrs. Austin states from authority, that in none of the Catholic states are the people so neglected in this respect as in Protestant Hesse Cassel, and even in Hanover; and that the kingdom of Saxony, pre-eminent for classical education, is far behind Bavaria and Austria in popular instruction. The Germans give as an instance of the low state of primary education in Royal Saxony, (the case is very different in the duchies,) that the places of schoolmasters are there commonly filled by mere candidates of theology. (Mrs. Austin's Preface to Cousin's Report, p. xiii.) In fact, the Catholic clergy have not altogether neglected their duty with respect to the education of the people, at least since the Reformation, which as a lesson was not totally lost upon
them. Without referring to the splendid example of the Jesuits, whose labours however were more particularly concerned with the higher or collegiate education, there sprung up several other religious communities, who made it their vocation to give elementary education to the poor, and mostly gratis. Such were and are still in Italy, the brothers of the Christian doctrine,' the Scolopj or Scholarum Piarum brothers, the Congregation of the Oratory founded by Philip Neri, and others. The clergy in most parts of Italy are the only instructors of the poor and of the rural population. Cousin readily admits this: The little popular instruction I ever found in Italy came from the priests. In France, with few exceptions, our best schools for the poor are those of the Frères de la Doctrine Chrétienne. These are facts which it is necessary to be incessantly repeating to certain persons, &c.'—p. 290. It may also be observed that in Austria two Catholic clergymen, a bishop, and a dean, were the chief promoters of seminaries for popular teachers, under the reign of Maria Theresa.
One of the most important measures of the Prussian law of 1819 was the establishment of at least one great seminary for primary schoolmasters (seminarium für schullehrer), in each regierung, or department of the kingdom. Similar establishments, however, already existed in the old provinces of the monarchy. The idea of having schools for educating schoolmasters seems to have originated with Professor Franke of Halle, who established a seminary for the purpose. Klosterberge, near Magdeburg, became afterwards a nursery of teachers. Others were established at Jena, Leipzig, Heidelberg, Munich, Breslau, &c. : but these were chiefly intended to form teachers for the higher schools. Johann Julius Hecker, Minister of Trinity Church at Berlin, who was also the founder of the bürger or middle schools, established in 1748 a private school for training primary teachers to supply the wants of the country schools. Till then the schoolmasters were appointed by the parishes, either with or without the approbation of the authorities, and were all taken from the primary schools then established. All that was required of these masters, who were chiefly mechanics, was to be able to read, say the catechism, sing tolerably a few well-known psalm tunes, and to write and cypher a little. Numbers of shepherds, who were employed in summer time in keeping sheep, assumed during winter the office of teachers of youth. The nobility used generally to bestow the place of schoolmaster, if it was at their disposal, on their valets or grooms, as a reward for past services. The primary schools in towns sometimes had masters a little better informed, but even these had no method in their teaching. In 1753, Hecker's school was raised, by a cabinet order of the King, to the rank of a royal primary normal school for schoolmasters and parish clerks. But as the pupils lived in various parts of the capital, they were not properly watched or directed in their studies. Being all mechanics, they laboured at their trades rather than their studies, and the time which they devoted to the latter at the normal school was too short to give any hopes of the purpose of the institution being realized. Frederic the Great, in 1771, appropriated 4000 crowns yearly to the improvement of the country schools in the Electoral March; he remarked on this occasion that, 'as primary education in the country had been much neglected, it was necessary to remove the bad masters, and replace them by competent men.' He accordingly sent to Saxony for a supply. An increase of salary was allowed to the new masters, and the individuals most distinguished among them were placed in the primary Normal School of Berlin as models for masters who were training. Other seminaries were formed at Halberstadt APRIL-JULY, 1834.
and at Breslau. The Canon von Rochow established a seminary on his estate at Rekahn in Brandenburg, and organized others in the neighbourhood in 1773; these became the model schools to which young men from all parts of Germany resorted to be trained in the principles and practice of primary instruction. Still there was for a long time a great deficiency of good schoolmasters throughout the country,
In 1806, there were in the kingdom of Prussia, 14 public seminaries for primary schoolmasters. In 1831, according to Cousin's report, they had increased to 33 great seminaries, each containing from 40 to 100 pupils, and perhaps there were twice that number of small seminaries. In Nos. XI. and XII. of this Journal, we spoke at some length on the general spirit and on the regulations and economy of those institutions, which form a most indispensable part of a system of general primary education. We will now add some particulars concerning the humbler and poorer sort, which exhibit the admirable spirit that animates the whole system. In reading these details, we find ourselves carried as it were to a new world, which we can only in some degree compare to the social life of the primitive Christians, before worldliness and schism had spread discord among them.
There are in Prussia, as elsewhere, districts and parishes so poor, that a schoolmaster of any eminence could hardly be found to go and live in them; and yet it is precisely these miserable districts which stand most in need of instruction. For them the smaller seminaries have been established. One of these was founded by a school-councillor, M. Bernhardt, in a suburb of Stettin, called Lastadie. The city of Stettin has, of course, its own large normal school for the training of masters for the bürger schools; but the humbler seminary of Lastadie provides for the wants of the country schools. It is specially designed, so the regulations say, for poor young men who intend to become country schoolmasters, and who may, in case of need, gain a part of their subsistence by the labour of their hands. Nothing is taught but what is necessary for small and poor country parishes, which require schoolmasters who are Christians and useful men, but can afford to give them only a very slender recompense for their labour. The school of Lastadie resembles a village household of the simplest kind, and unites all its members in one family. All the pupils inhabit the same house, and eat at the same table with the masters : the number of pupils is fixed at twelve. The instruction is gratuitous. Servants are not wanted, for the pupils do the work of the house. The establishment is supported by grants from the Minister of Public